Executive Function Deficits in Patients with Blepharospasm

Authors: T. Nikolai 1;  O. Bezdíček 1;  P. Kleinová 1;  M. Šmíra 2;  E. Růžička 1;  J. Roth 1
Authors‘ workplace: Neurologická klinika a Centrum klinických neurověd, 1. LF UK a VFN v Praze 1;  Katedra psychologie, FSS MU, Brno 2
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2016; 79/112(6): 687-691
Category: Original Paper


The aim of our study was to identify selective cognitive abnormalities in cognitive performance of essential blepharospasm (EB) patients. Introduction: EB and other types of focal dystonia have long been considered as a purely motor disorder. In recent years, there has been mounting evidence for non-motor abnormalities due to basal ganglia dysfunction in patents with EB, including selective cognitive deficits.

Material and methods:
We recruited 20 patients with EB, 20 patients with hemifacial spasm (HFS) and 23 demographically matched controls (NC). All participants (EB + HFS + NC) underwent brief neuropsychological battery focused on executive functioning. Furthermore, the patients (EB + HFS) were matched according to their disease duration, treatment duration. Patients were assessed near the peak of botulinum toxin treatment effect.

EB patients had significantly longer times (more impaired performance) in the Prague Stroop Test weak interference condition (naming neutral words) in comparison to patients with HFS (W = 301.5; p = 0.006) and HC (W = 362; p < 0.001). EB patients also had higher level of anxiety symptoms than NC as measured by STAI (STAI X1: W = 377; p < 0.001; STAI X2: W = 408; p < 0.001).

We found mild executive dysfunction in patients with EB manifesting as higher sensitivity to interference. Unlike other studies, we compared our results with HFS patients that were similar in basic clinical and demographic characteristics and underwent the same botulinum toxin treatment as the EB group. Furthermore, we found higher level of trait and state anxiety in EB patients compared to NC (but not HFS).

Key words:
blepharospasm – executive functions – hemispasm – neuropsychology

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